Vilnius University, Faculty of Philosophy (Lithuania)
Convergence as a Sign of Progress in Science and Philosophy
In this paper, we will discuss the question of progress in science as compared to progress in philosophy. Since philosophy is often accused of not making progress, our aim is to suggest an alternative to this accusation by analyzing the different ways of understanding progress. We will do this mostly from metaphilosophical and metahistorical perspectives.
By opposing David Chalmers’ view that we (philosophers) rarely find any convergence around a certain proposition, therefore we cannot agree with the statements regarding truth, we will argue that it is misleading to evaluate convergence as the main sign of progress in philosophy. Consensus is a legitimate requirement in science when trying to evaluate scientific progress regarding a certain topic which requires verification, and its results are usually totally dependent on this verification. Philosophy, on the other hand, does not require consensual verification in the same way that science does. This leads to our challenging the accusation that there is no progress in philosophy by contrasting progress in science to progress in philosophy, and arguing for the position that progress in philosophy is driven by ‘dissensus’ rather than consensus.